22 Supermarket Secrets that will make you cry at the checkout

Woman shocked by prices at the supermarket

Most shoppers aren’t aware that their local grocer is intent on influencing what you buy. Supermarket executives spend a lot of time thinking about how to part you with your hard-earned money. It’s all part of a well orchestrated plan to get you to spend more than you anticipated.

 But we’re not going to let that happen.

Join us now as we pull back the curtains and reveal the “secrets” of the trade. 

Supermarket secrets everyone should know

This article is not meant to criticize the grocery industry. We have great respect for grocers and recognize that the average grocery store works on a very low 1.2 percent markup. However, our #1 priority is first and foremost – saving you money every day. We would like each of our awesome readers to realize that their local grocery store is intent on maximizing its income. They use behavioral science and statistical analysis to influence and persuade you to spend more of your hard-earned money. We feel our mission would be accomplished if you were to buy solely what you intended and not what some supermarket executive has decided you should buy.

We made the checkout aisles narrow

We intentionally made the checkout lanes narrow so that you can’t change your mind as you unload your cart. Every open space has been eliminated leaving you no other choice but to place your purchase on the conveyor belt. We want you to proceed through the checkout without giving you an opportunity to reconsider what you have decided to purchase

We doubled the size of our Shopping Carts

Ever noticed why our shopping carts are much bigger in the past few years? Studies have shown us that you will purchase up to 40 percent more if you have a bigger cart. The aisles get kind of tight with these big carts, but we’re going to do it anyway. We’re talking 40% more… we can’t pass that up.

We’re trying to alter your buying habits

Remember when you used to buy a six-pack of soda and a regular size bag of chips each week? We changed that. Now we feature 12 packs of soda alongside supersize bags of chips. Yes, it’s true, we have actually changed the amount you consume each week. And we’re doing that with many other items you buy. Care for a supersize bag of candy?

We want to brighten your mood before you shop

We want you to be in a good mood when you shop. With that in mind, we intentionally placed our fresh-cut flowers and our produce department (with its brightly colored fruits and vegetables) as soon as you walk in.

We don’t want you to know where everything is

You may have noticed that we’re constantly rearranging our shelves. We don’t want you to get in the habit of knowing exactly where everything is. We want you to search and be exposed to new items that you may buy impulsively. If you knew where everything was exactly, you would quickly make your purchase and leave. We don’t want that.

Mrs. Wealthy Budgeter – “It does seem like this works. How many times does one go in for a single item and leave with five?”

We know you can’t remember prices

Studies have shown that consumers only remember the price of four items – milk, bread, bananas, and eggs. We’re happy about that. That gives us free rein with the price of everything else

Our “Free” samples make us big profits

We know once you taste our free samples that you will be inclined to buy them. We’ll dice up some tasty cheese and set out some toothpicks. There’s a good chance you will like what you sample and buy a wedge – at full retail price. We like that.

We mist our produce (for an unexpected reason)

Bet you thought we mist our produce to keep it fresh. Actually, it doesn’t. What it does though is make it attractive. Those dewy fresh droplets of water make our produce appear as if it were just picked in the field. We know you like that. So we’ll keep misting.

“Mrs. Wealthy Budgeter – Shake the water off your veggies before you buy them!”

We know your weakness with the 99-cent price point

We tag much of our merchandise with 99 cents at the end. Studies have shown that you will equate $1.99 with $1.00 more than you would $2.00. That amazes us. We’re going to keep doing that.

We reel you in with pleasing scents

The smell of freshly baked bread and chicken spinning on the rotisserie gets you all the time. Mmmm… smells good!

We want you to lose your sense of time

We want to keep you in our store as long as possible. The longer you’re here, the more you will buy. That’s why the only windows we ever have are upfront. No skylights either. We don’t want you to notice it’s getting dark outside or the clouds are starting to thicken and rain is on its way. One more thing you will never find – a clock. Yes, we want you to get lost in the wonderful experience of grocery shopping. 

We purposely place our most profitable items at your eye level (and your child’s)

We display our profit-makers on the shelf at eye level because you tend to buy what is directly in front of you. We intentionally place our less profitable items on the very top shelf or on the lower. This works very well for us when you are shopping with your children. We place those colorful boxes of sugary treats at their level when they are sitting in the shopping cart seat. Don’t you just love that?

Mrs. Wealthy Budgeter – “Ugh. Hate this. Especially with the children. So many temper tantrums with the sugar cereals in the cereal aisle!”

We tempt you while you wait

We love a captive audience. That’s why place our candy bars, chewing gum, and highly profitable magazines right at the checkout. This is our last chance to score a few extra dollars from you and we do everything we can to maximize the opportunity.

We place high profit items where you don’t expect

We know that you assume an item is on sale if it’s displayed at the end of the aisle. We’ll use your “false belief” to our advantage. Many times we will create a nice display of a regular priced item there. It’s amazing how much more we will sell at the full retail price.

We want you to walk the entire store

It makes us very happy to have you walk the whole store so you can see all the wonderful things we offer. We’ve intentionally placed the items you need most (bread, dairy, meats) at opposite ends of the store. We’re hoping that along the way you will discover many things you can’t live without.

Mrs. Wealthy Budgeter –  “Our valuable time is spent walking from one end of the store to another all the time. Who else has a problem with this?”

Our weekly flyer creates the illusion of value

We know you will be looking in our bright, colorful weekly flyer hoping to pick up some specials. We take advantage of that by packing our flyer with many items at full retail price. Lucky for us, you assume it’s a good price if it is in the flyer.

We want to slow your pace

We don’t want you rushing through our store, so we try to slow you down by piping in some slower paced music.  A happy customer buys more.

We’ll confuse you with our sales

You probably think that a “buy one, get one at 50 percent off” is a great sale. Actually, it’s not so great. It breaks down to 25 percent off each item. We love this kind of sale. It tempts you to buy more than you expected and we still make a decent markup. Sometimes you buy it just because it’s on sale.

We know you will pay more for convenience

We can really increase our profit margin by attractively presenting our produce and cheese “cut up” in containers ready to go. It amazes us that people will pay two or three times the price for the convenience of not having to do it themselves.

Mrs. Wealthy Budgeter – “Crazy. Whole watermelons are on special this week at $3.98. Over at the specialty case – one quarter of a watermelon is priced at 59 cents a pound. Total price for this quarter melon – $4.20″

We make you buy more than you need

We like to bag things together to make it seem like a good deal. You came in for one lemon, you leave with a bag of six. You came in for an avocado, you leave with a bag of four.

We know you look for the “specials”

We know that you assume the color red means it’s on sale. That’s why we use bright red colors a lot to mark products throughout the store to make the most of this – even if it’s not on sale.

We know you will pay more for “fresh”

You’re probably aware that some of our fish in the fresh seafood department has been previously frozen. What you don’t know is that the same fish is often available in the frozen fish display case – at a much lower price per pound.

Mrs. Wealthy Budgeter – “Alaskan snow crab (previously frozen) in the fresh seafood case at $14.99 lb. The same Alaskan snow crab in the frozen food display case – $9.99 lb. Just 15 feet away from each other.”

Have you discovered any “supermarket secrets” that we haven’t covered? I’m sure there are more that we aren’t aware of. We would love to hear more. Help your fellow shoppers. Please share in the comments below...

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